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32 And before him shall be gathered all nations : and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats :

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

a well-founded hope of eternal life. To bar, awaiting his sentence. Merely husuch as bear these characters and bring man writers have nothing so awfully subforth these fruits only, he looks with ac- lime as this; for they had no distinct ceptance; and the cultivation of them he knowledge of the great facts bere descriurges by all those arousing motives which bed in language so clear and simple as can be drawn from his approbation, or could never have been used but by him from his blessing or curse in that day in to whom the mysterious solemnities of which he shall come to judge the world. the future were all clearly known.

Christ here again calls himself the Son He shall separate them one from another, of man, not simply with reference to his as a shepherd, &c.—This is done with human nature, but as God-Man Media- unerring penetration, and with infinite tor, in allusion to the prophecy of Daniel, equity, the vast multitude moving to the where under this title he is represented right hand or to the left under the influas receiving a universal kingdom. Of this ence of his mighty power, the consciouskingdom, the last act is to judge the ness of each answering to the impulse, world, and to distribute the rewards and and, as to the wicked, withering every penalties of eternity. This Son of Man effort at resistance.

effort at resistance. The metaphor is comes therefore not in his humility, nor taken from the shepherds of ancient times, even in his spiritual power and invisible who kept the sheep and goats in different gracious influence, but personally in that Aocks, and hastily separated them when visible glory in which he now “sitteth they became mingled together. A simiat the right hand of God.” And all the lar metaphor we have in Ezek. xxxiv. 17: holy angels with him, to give greater “Behold, I judge between cattle and catsplendour to the solemn pomp; to take tle, between the rams and the he-goats ” their part in gathering together the elect; Verse 33. The sheep on his right hand, and to be the spectators of a scene which but the goats on the left.— The former reis to minister instruction and admonition

present the righteous, and the latter the to them for ever. Then shall he sit as a wicked, but not for any resemblance of Sovereign and a Judge upon the throne of qualities ; on which supposition many his glory: a Hebraism for his glorious surd allegories have been formed by imathrone. The same imagery we have in ginative commentators. The idea inRev. xx. 11, “And I saw a great white," or tended to be conveyed appears to be simdazzling, “throne, and him that sat on ply that of as complete and obvious a it, from whose face the earth and the separation between the good and the bad, heaven fled away.”

as between a flock of sheep and a flock of Verse 32. Before him shall be gathered goats. The designation of the wicked, as all nations. —So that this is clearly the gene- goats, would be, however, very forcible ral and final judgment : not merely the to a Jew; the same Hebrew word being Jewish nation or the Christian church used both for a goat and an evil spirit, or is to be judged, but all nations ; those demon. With the Jews, the right hand who shall then be alive, and “the dead, and left hand, in judicial proceedings, small and great, stand before God.” were highly significant. Maimonides Here is not only an assembled world, but states that in the sanhedrim two scribes the assembled generations of the world, stood before the judges, one on the right, from the beginning of time, placed at his the other on the left; and that the scribe


34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world :

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye

took me in:

d Isaiah lviii. 7 ; Ezekiel xviii. 7.

on the right hand wrote the sentence of Christ, and endure faithful to the end of acquittal, and the scribe on the left hand life. For them, AS BELIEVERS, not as a the sentence of condemnation. Agreeably specific number selected arbitrarily from to which they have a saying, “There is a the mass of mankind, this state of “glory, right hand and a left hand with the Lord; honour, and immortality,” here figurathey that are on the right hand are for tively called a kingdom, was prepared. absolution, and they that are on the left The creating power of God has produced hand are for condemnation.” They are and arranged it, and the entrance of our not, however, alone in this. Plato, in Saviour into “ the holy places,” with his his description of the judgment, which own blood, has claimed it in behalf of all takes place in the invisible state, repre- who embrace his universal offer of grace sents the judges as assigning the right and eternal salvation. Heaven thus opens hand to the just, and the left hand to the its gates for fallen man whose sin forunjust.

feited the inheritance of paradise; and Verse 34. The King say.–Our Lord, by whosoever will may enter, in the way, calling him the King, again shows the na- and on the gracious conditions, which are ture of his kingdom, and tacitly corrects laid down in the holy gospel. the prevalent errors of the Jews, the Verse 35. For I was an hungred, &c. influence of which still obscured the judg. -After this general sublime description ment of the disciples, and rendered them of the pomp and solemnity of the final inapt to receive spiritual views. Messiah judgment, our Lord proceeds to give the is indeed a King ; but he is here seen, not reason for this public acknowledgment of distributing earthly but heavenly rewards; the righteous, and the equally public disnot inflicting temporal but eternal punish- owning of the wicked. These reasons, it is, nents; not establishing an external do- however, to be remarked, are not the only minion over men's persons, but pros- ones in either case. Neither are the trating their whole souls before him in wicked punished solely because they holy love, or guilty dread ; not setting have been fruitless in works of mercy, up a visible kingdom on earth, but wel. nor the righteous solely because they coming the righteous into the celestial have abounded in them. They.are taken and hallowed glories of the kingdom of in each case as manifestations of CHARAChis Father; not honouring his compa- TER ; and they are specified to show the nions and subjects in arms after a warfare importance attached to them, and that of “confused noise and garments rolled where religion is not PRACTICAL, it is in blood,” but crowning those who had wholly false and delusive. That benevoby the strength of his grace overcome lent actions separate from true charity, themselves, the world, and sin.

which is the love of God and man, cannot From the foundation of the world.This avail, we have the express testimony of phrase signifies from the creation of the St. Paul, who teaches, that if a man world, and refers us to the designs and "give all his goods to feed the poor, and counsels of God in eternity. It was his have not charity," in the principle, “it eternal purpose to raise to the felicity of profiteth him nothing ;” whilst on the beaven all who should truly believe in other hand, St. James instructs us in the

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye

visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in ? or naked, and clothed thee ?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

equally important truth, that “faith truth, that what is done for the relief and without works is dead,” and therefore comfort of persons in penury, sickness, unsaving. The three great ends of and trouble, he regards as done to himChrist's religion are, to reconcile men to self! Inasmuch as ye have done it unto God, to renew the heart in righteousness, one of the least of these my brethren, ye and to inspire that universal philanthropy have done it unto me. The benevolence of which shall lead to the most beneficent Christ could have no stronger a demonacts of mercy to others; and as he had stration than this identification of himinculcateother virtues in preceding pa- self with all poor and troubled persons rables under the sanction of eternal re- throughout the world, and in all ages ; wards and punishments, so now, that he and no motive to their charitable relief may present the picture of “the man of can be so moving and efficacious with us God made perfect, thoroughly furnished as this. It affords one of many instances, to every good work,” he exhibits the that when Christian morals are the same FRUITFUL faith and charity of his people in substance as those taught by the in their practical benevolence, and con- wiser Heathen, the former are not only fers upon their good works the high re- presented unto us under more definite wards of his kingdom.

views, but enforced by motives beyond Verse 36. And ye visited me.—The word comparison more powerful. They have επισκεπτομαι signifies not only to look at once the authority of God, and the upon, but to look after ; that is, to take persuasive influence which results from care of, or relieve ; and may comprehend an appeal to our purest and most influenthe administration of both spiritual and tial affections. Those who restrain the temporal comfort.

term brethren, to poor and destitute And ye came unto me.—With sympathy Christians, have no warrant from the and aid, either to sustain in prison or to words or from the scope of the discourse. devise means to obtain liberation from To narrow up the obligations of benefi. it.

cence to those of our own faith would Verse 37. Lord, when saw we thee an have been rather in the spirit of Judaism hungred ? &c.—The manner in which the than according to the liberal and expancase was put, as though they had minis- sive genius of Christianity; and it would tered to the Lord himself personally, ex- greatly tend to that, were we taught to cites their astonishment; and their modest consider that those acts of mercy which forgetfulness of their own works, and the are done “to the household of faith" total absence of all idea of merit from are the only works of that kind which their minds, rendering what was said shall be noticed and rewarded at the last more mysterious than it would otherwise day. The term brethren is therefore to have been, are circumstances finely touch. be taken in its largest sense for all maned; and with infinite skill they are made kind. By taking upon him our nature, to give the greater force to the affecting Christ became the brother of every man,

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, * Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels :

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink :

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And 'these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

e Psalm vi. 8; Matt, vii. 23.

f Dan. xii. 2; John v. 29.

and even in his exalted and glorified state, not rejected him as a merciful and grarecognises us under that relation.

cious Saviour. Verse 41. Prepared for the devil and his Verse 46. And these shall go away into angels. He does not say that this ever- everlasting punishment, 8-c.—These words lasting fire was prepared for these eril are decisive of the doctrine of the eternity spirits, as the kingdom of heaven was of the punishment of the wicked; and no prepared for the righteous, from the reasonings of men, the supposed certain foundation of the world;" that is, from indications from assumed principles of eternity, as a part of the counsel and de- the divine government, can avail against sign of God. But simply, that it is pre- their clear and unequivocal meaning. pared for the devil and his angels, but Even Wakefield, a Socinian commentator, contrary to that gracious purpose for has noticed and admitted their force. It which they were created. A glorious is observable that the same word of time heaven they found prepared for them the is here employed by the evangelist to moment they sprang into existence; denote the punishment of the wicked, and and it was not until they actually fell, the happiness of the just, in a future state : that divine vengeance kindled up in one they are equally called EVERLASTING. dark and doleful part of the universe an Nor is there any passage in the whole everlasting fire for the punishment of the New Testament which can be urged in dedisobedient. Into this same fire, and in fence of what is usually denominated, the company with these rebellious spirits, “proper eternity of hell torments,” with shall all the wicked be at last driven from greater propriety than the text before us. the presence of him who had never been No one disputes the endless duration of to them an unrelenting Judge, had they the happiness reserved for the righteous CHAPTER XXVI.

1 The rulers conspire against Christ. 6 The woman anointeth his feet. 14 Judas

selleth him. 17 Christ eateth the passover : 26 instituteth his holy supper : 36 prayetk in the garden : 47 and being betrayed with a kiss, 57 is carried to Caiaphas, 69 and denied of Peter.

1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,

2 • Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,

a Mark xiv. 1; Luke xxii. 1; John xiii. 1.

b John xi. 47.

in heaven ; and why should the eternity teenth day of the same month, and then of future punishment be controverted slain in the evening. A lamb or a kid more than that, when the term applied was killed in each family; and if the numto the duration of both is not merely of a ber of the family was not sufficient to eat similar import, but actually THE SAME? it, they might associate two families toge

ther. It was eaten' with unleavened CHAPTER XXVI. Verse 1. All these bread, and was followed by the seven sayings.-All these discourses.

days of unleavened bread, so that the Verse 2. Is the passover.—This was one whole feast lasted eight days. of the great annual festivals of the Jews, These words seem to have been spoken instituted with great solemnity by divine by Jesus on the fourth day of the week, direction, to commemorate the passing of that is, on Wednesday in the afternoon; the destroying angel over the houses of and on Thursday in the evening, that is, the Israelites, and their deliverance from on the evening which followed the fifth Egypt. It was a grand instituted type day, the passover began, and was conof our redemption, and therefore Christ tinued from Thursday evening to Friday is called our Passover sacrificed for evening, when the sabbath, or seventh us.” The paschal sacrifice derives its ap- day, began. pellation from noo, which signifies, to Is betrayed.—Will be delivered up; the pass by or over. In the Septuagint and present being put for the future, as a sigthe New Testainent to marxa signifies both nificant manner of denoting a certain and paschal lamb, and also the paschal feast. approaching event. The institution is explained Exodus xii. Verse 3. The palace of the high priest 27: “It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Caiaphas.-Avan, rendered palace, properpassover, who passed over the houses of ly signifies an inclosed area, open to the the children of Israel in Egypt, when he air ; but is often applied, as here, to the smote the Egyptians, and delivered our

whole mansion or palace of kings, or perhouses.” The victim was to be a male sons in authority. Caiaphas was the of the first year, without blemish, from high priest at this time, and during the the sheep or from the goats.

whole period in which Pilate was goverchosen on the tenth day of the month He married a daughter of Annas, Abib in every year, kept till the four- who also is called high priest, because be

It was


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